As expected, Tim Cook was interviewed this evening on HBO as part of the Axios on HBO series. In the interview, Cook touched on the need for privacy regulations in the technology industry, diversity in Silicon Valley, his daily routine, and more. Head below for a full recap.
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First off, Cook touched on his daily routine – saying he rises a little before 4AM each morning. He starts off by reading through user comments, apparently, for an hour. Then heads to the gym for an hour to help “keep stress at bay.”
When asked if he fears Apple products are creating loneliness among users, Cook explained that features like Screen Time in iOS 12 help curb overuse:
What we decided our role was, is providing people the information and controls to control use. You would find I have a high screen time, but the number of times I pick up a device is declining. We built this functionality into our operating system.
As he has done in past interviews, Cook also addressed the need for privacy regulations in the technology industry. The Apple CEO explained that while in general he is “not a big fan of regulation” and fond of the free market, there comes time to admit when the free market is not working.
“Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of regulation. I’m a big believer in the free market. But we have to admit when the free market is not working. And it hasn’t worked here. I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation. I think Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”
He also added that tech companies should embrace the regulations. “This is not a matter of privacy versus profits, or privacy versus technical innovation. That’s a false choice,” Cook added. “Your device has incredible intelligence about you, but as a company I don’t have to have that.”
One interesting question centered on whether or not Apple’s billion-dollar deals with Google, which allow Google to remain the default search platform on iOS, compromise Apple’s privacy believes. Cook, however, defended these deals, citing iOS features such as private browsing and intelligent tracking prevention, and also calling Google the best search engine:
One, I think their search engine is the best. But two, look at what we’ve done with the controls. We have private web browsing, we have intelligent tracking prevention. We come up with ways to help our users through the course of the day. It’s not a perfect thing, but it goes a long way in helping.
As we highlighted this morning, Cook was asked by Mike Allen from Axios about the gender diversity of Silicon Valley. Cook explained that he doesn’t think Apple is alone in trying to make improvements in this area, thus making him optimistic about improvements for the entire technology industry:
“I think the valley has been open and accepting to many different people from different walks of life, but I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view, that the valley has missed it and tech in general has missed it. I know we spend a lot of energy on this and are constantly asking ourselves, “How can we improve more?” and listening to what our folks tell us. I gotta believe other people are doing this too. I’m actually encouraged at this point that there will be a more marked improvement over time.”
The conversation then shifted to one of Cook’s favorite topics: augmented reality. Cook explained that technology should “amplify human performance and experiences,” adding that AR does “an unbelievable job at that.” Cook and Axios reporters Mike Allen and Ina Fried then went into an open field at Apple Park to show off a gardening and outdoor design app based on augmented reality.
Ultimately, Cook said that, “in a few years, we won’t be able to imagine our lives without augmented reality. It’s that profound of a platform.”
The full Tim Cook interview will likely be made available via YouTube in the near future, and we’ll update with a link when that’s the case. Watch a clip below.